On Monday December 4th, the Supreme Court allowed full implementation of the Trump administration’s third iteration of the travel ban. However, this is not the final ruling on the ban’s legality. In fact, the lower courts will be deliberating on the measure’s constitutionality later in the week.
Travel Ban 3.0 Overview
On September 24th, hours before the previous ban expired, the President issued a proclamation with new travel restrictions. The proclamation targeted eight countries; five nations (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen) had been included in previous orders. Three countries (Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela) were new to the list.
Based on a global review of an individual nations’ security risks, the proclamation’s travel limitations varied by nation. However, all new restrictions were indefinite – a stark departure from the previous orders.
Challenges to the new measures were quick to come through. In mid-October, Hawaii’s U.S District Court Judge Derrick Watson halted all restrictions placed on the six predominately Muslim nations, allowing the sanctions on North Korea and Venezuela to go forward.
At the same time, Maryland’s U.S District Court Judge Theodore Chuang issued a preliminary injunction with a more limited scope. The proclamation’s sanctions on North Korea and Venezuela would be upheld; however, citizens from the remaining nations with bona fide connections to the U.S, whether familial or professions, could not be denied entry.
In mid-November, the Trump administration appealed Supreme Court to lift the two injunctions while the lower courts deliberate the proclamation’s legality. Monday’s ruling granted this request, with only two of the nine Supreme Court Justices dissenting.
With Monday’s Supreme Court’s ruling, travel ban 3.0’s sanctions on Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen are effective immediately. The ruling also removes protections for those citizens with bona fide ties to the U.S, a stipulation and exemption the Supreme Court initially defined and supported.
Restrictions on North Korea and Venezuela have been in place since the proclamation went into effect on October 18th.
On Wednesday December 6th, the 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments related to Hawaii’s challenge. A traditional three-judge panel will oversee the review. Two days later, the 4th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments related to Maryland and the ACLU’s challenge. However, the 4th Circuit is bypassing the standard three-judge panel. Instead, a full panel of judges will hear deliberations, minus two judges who have recused themselves.
Both appellate courts are expediting hearings in order to advance proceedings to the Supreme Court; a quick turn-around will allow the Supreme Court to make an official ruling before the current term’s end in June.
However, past actions by the Supreme Court suggest a precedent of supporting the latest ban. In addition to Monday’s ruling, the Supreme Court overturned earlier decisions by the lower courts when it allowed partial implementation of travel ban 2.0 in June. As a result, the lower court’s ruling are no longer on the record.
We will be providing updates as new developments unfold; stay tuned.
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